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Phil Willis
"Teachers are being asked to spy on colleagues."
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Monday, 10 April, 2000, 06:35 GMT 07:35 UK
Teachers' pay plan 'Stalinist'
New rules "will create suspicion" say Lib Dems
The government's plans for performance pay for teachers in England are coming under renewed attack from two directions.

What we have here is a Stalinist secretary of state who wishes to involve every single member of staff in a spying exercise

Phil Willis
Liberal Democrat
The main target is the move to force teachers to give information about colleagues who are applying for the 2,000 pay rise, moving to a new, higher pay scale.

The Liberal Democrat education spokesman, Phil Willis, is tabling a Commons motion on Monday arguing that this puts them in an "invidious position".

Also, he National Union of Teachers is mounting a High Court challenge to the new regulations introduced by the Education Secretary, David Blunkett.

Mr Willis, a former head teacher, says David Blunkett is being "Stalinist" in his approach.

phil willis
Phil WiIlis: Wants the regulations scrapped
He says the new regulations are a fundamental change to teachers' contracts, but are being introduced without an opportunity for the House of Commons to debate them.

They relate to teachers who volunteer for the higher, performance-related salary scale being introduced this autumn.

A successful application will depend on teachers having an appraisal of their suitability by their head teachers and external assessors.

Mr Willis says the new regulations mean all their colleagues can also be required to report on them as part of that process - creating a climate of suspicion and destroying the team ethos essential to the smooth running of a school.

This nasty little scheme will divide teacher against teacher

Doug McAvoy
NUT general secretary
"What we have here is a Stalinist secretary of state who wishes to involve every single member of staff in a spying exercise on their colleagues in order to put in place a discredited performance threshold payment system," he told BBC News Online.

"The whole principle of education is that it is very much a team activity.

"There is an acceptance that certain members of that team have a responsibility for making sure that it works effectively.

"But it is essential that teachers feel free to own up to weaknesses, to ask for help, without the fear of that being reported in terms of their assessment."

The NUT's legal challenge involves an application for judicial review of the government's handling of the new regulations.

The union's general secretary, Doug McAvoy, said: "This nasty little scheme will divide teacher against teacher. It will not promote high quality teaching or education of pupils.

"Teachers, of necessity, must work collaboratively and in support of each other.

"This proposal will create suspicion and division in our schools and must be resisted."

The application was to have been heard in the High Court on 12 April but was postponed for a week.

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See also:

31 Mar 00 | Teachers Pay
Performance pay sleaze threat
24 Mar 00 | Teachers Pay
Late legal threat to performance pay
01 Feb 00 | Teachers Pay
Pay deal meets mixed reception
13 May 99 | Education
Teachers back action over pay
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